What happens to a town when a key industry collapses?
Sometimes it dies. But sometimes it finds a way to reinvent itself.
Case in point: Ketchikan, Alaska, where the demise of the timber industry has led to a radical transformation.
Many people who used to earn their livelihoods through timber have now turned to jobs in tourism.
It’s an identity shift that makes the city far different from what it was in the logging heyday.
“It was this boomtown!” says longtime Ketchikan resident Eric Collins. “It was just a crazy, wild frontier place.”
Now, it’s a tourism magnet. Ketchikan is expecting 1 million visitors this summer. They’ll flow into town off as many as six giant cruise ships a day…